Societal Issues

To curb drug deaths, communities turn to Reddit, texts and wastewater

With drug overdose deaths on the rise, authorities are attempting to curb the epidemic by tracking and sharing information in real time. In one unique effort, a nonprofit in New York City is using drug-testing equipment and stamping or marking habits of dealers to identify drug batches that may endanger users. Other approaches are also being used, such as monitoring drug-related chatter on Reddit and analyzing local wastewater for opioid and other drug levels. With the combination of these efforts, researchers hope to put a dent in the opioid crisis and reduce overdose deaths. Read full article here

Feeding the poor is now profitable

Food aid has become a normal way of life for many in France, with more than seven million people in need of assistance in 2022. Unfortunately, those requiring aid often feel ashamed and are often judged by others. It has also become a way for producers and retailers to make a profit, with farmers able to sell fruit and vegetables that would otherwise be unsellable and stores able to offload products past their sell-by date. Food aid has become an integral part of the agro-industrial complex, and not the emergency measure it was meant to be. Read full article here

She-cession and women’s comeback

Italian women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with a ‘she-cession’ causing the loss of 99,000 female jobs. The structural issues causing this are complex and rooted in both cultural and institutional barriers. In response, however, female entrepreneurs have displayed impressive growth and resilience, with their businesses faring better than those run by males. This demonstrates the importance of supporting female entrepreneurs, who could be the key to Italy’s economic recovery. Read full article here

A woman is suing Jack Daniel’s over whiskey fungus

Residents living near a Jack Daniel’s distillery in Tennessee are fighting back against a black fungus – known as whiskey or rum fungus – that covers everything in its path. A local event venue owner is suing the company due to the costly power-washing needed to keep the fungus at bay. Jack Daniel’s doesn’t want to install air filters as it may interfere with its whiskey taste, so the fungus will continue to wreak havoc until the alcohol supply is turned off. Read full article here

The Case Against Animal Individualism

Humans should care for the animals that share the planet with us, but individualism is a terrible guide to stewarding the natural world. Conservation efforts often focus on protecting individual animals, rather than ensuring the health of natural systems. This approach can lead to ineffective policies, such as the Endangered Species Act, and provide an intellectual fig leaf to predator control. To protect animals and the environment, we should adopt a “Land Ethic” worldview which views the world as an intricate living system, rather than an assortment of beings with different ethical standings. By understanding the complex connections between species, we can ensure that all beings can live flourishing lives. Read full article here

These Women Are Fighting Back Against Honduras’s Incredibly Harsh Abortion Laws

In Honduras, abortion is illegal and carries a prison sentence of up to six years. But with the swearing-in of the country’s first female president, Xiomara Castro, in January 2022, activists are hopeful for incremental change. They launched the Hablemos Lo Que Es PAE campaign to make emergency contraception available in a very limited way, and even managed to get more than 700,000 Hondurans to sign a petition demanding the government take action. It’s a huge step forward in the fight to advance sexual and reproductive rights in the country, and to give women the autonomy to make their own decisions about their bodies and futures. Read full article here

Finland’s Most-Wanted Hacker Nabbed in France

Julius Kivimäki, a notorious 25-year-old Finnish hacker, was recently arrested in France after being on the run since 2022. Kivimäki had been charged with attempting to extort money from a psychotherapy centre, as well as with various cybercrimes dating back to 2008. Interestingly, when French police discovered his identity, Kivimäki had presented himself as Romanian and had even gone so far as to suggest starting a support organization for wanted persons in a post on Reddit. Read full article here

Hybrid breed of invincible super pigs are heading to the US

It’s not every day you hear of ‘super pigs’ being set free, but this is exactly what happened in Canada around 20 years ago! A hybrid breed of domestic pig and wild boar were crossbred in order to help farmed pigs survive the cold temperatures of the freezing nation. Unfortunately, the demand for these animals dried up, and farmers proceeded to set them free – resulting in a potential disaster that may soon spread to the U.S.! Read full article here

Medieval prostitutes, concubines, and their relationships

In late medieval Valencia, city authorities had a problem with prostitutes who were also living as concubines with their partners. Over a period of 35 years, 400 women and 280 men were fined for this infraction – an example being Bartomeu Crespi and the ‘fembra peccadriu’ Johanna, who were together fined 22 sous for being “amich and amiga, staying in the public brothel”. This amusing article in the journal Speculum examines why the city authorities had an issue with this and why many lower-class men and women broke this law so they could be together. Read full article here

Why a Philosopher’s Racist Email from 26 Years Ago is News Today

Nick Bostrom, an influential Oxford philosopher, posted an apology for a racist email he sent 26 years ago. The original message showed a lack of understanding of what was considered racist and offensive. In his apology, Bostrom said he completely repudiates the email and does not agree with it now. This news has sparked a conversation about racism in the world, especially in academic philosophy, and whether people should be held accountable for the things they say. Read full article here


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